What we learned about every SEC East team in Week 10
The SEC East’s struggles against the West continued in Week 10. Florida looked lifeless in its 31-10 loss at Arkansas and Vanderbilt failed to pull out a close game against a banged up Auburn team.
Saturday’s games did very little to change the division standings and the Gators could possibly clinch if a few things fall their way next weekend.
Let’s take a look at what happened in another busy slate of SEC football.
Week 10 result: Lost to Arkansas 31-10
What we learned: Florida was thoroughly dominated in Saturday’s loss at Arkansas, and the Gators’ cushion in the SEC East race took a hit. Entering the game, Florida’s defense was allowing 105 yards per game on the ground. Arkansas gained 223 yards and 2 touchdowns on 49 carries.
The Gators, meanwhile, could get nothing going from the running game, gaining just 12 yards against the Razorbacks. Florida’s offense couldn’t do much of anything at Arkansas, and it was an interception return by Duke Dawson that scored the Gators’ only touchdown. This loss leaves Florida with very little room for error moving forward, and the team will need to regroup quickly ahead of a matchup with South Carolina, which has now won three consecutive games.
Week 10 result: Defeated Kentucky 27-24
What we learned: Georgia once again came through in the clutch and ended a two-game losing streak with a road victory at Kentucky. The Bulldogs were determined to revive the running game and they largely succeeded as Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for 212 yards and a score.
Jacob Eason had another good performance, throwing for 245 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. He was particularly sharp in directing another fourth-quarter comeback.
Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship played a major role in the victory, nailing all four of his field goal attempts, including a 49-yarder and the 25-yard game-winner. Defensively, Georgia did a good job holding Kentucky’s potent rushing attack in check. The Wildcats gained 186 yards on the ground but didn’t have many explosive plays.
Week 10 result: Lost to Georgia 27-24
What we learned: The Wildcats had a chance to take control in the SEC East division race, but a home loss to Georgia kept them behind Florida. It was a back-and-forth game in front of a very spirited home crowd, but Kentucky couldn’t get a stop on defense after tying the game at 24 late in the fourth quarter. Benjamin Snell Jr. was the Wildcats’ best weapon on Saturday, gaining 114 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries, and Stanley “Boom” Williams chipped in with 77 yards and a touchdown.
Kentucky forced three turnovers but had some untimely ones of their own. Next week’s game against Tennessee is now a must-win for Kentucky.
Week 10 result: Lost to South Carolina, 31-21
What we learned: Missouri lost its fifth consecutive game and remains winless against SEC competition this season. The defense remains very much a work in progress, but injuries have not helped. The Tigers allowed South Carolina to gain a season-high 428 yards and 4 touchdowns. Offensively, Missouri strung together a few impressive drives, most notably a 90-yard touchdown drive that took less than two minutes, but it couldn’t produce consistently. Drew Lock threw for 302 yards and a touchdown but also had two interceptions. Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter ran for 82 and 80 yards, respectively, and had a touchdown apiece.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Week 10 result: Defeated Missouri 31-21
What we learned: Jake Bentley improved to 3-0 as a starter and the Gamecocks rose one game over .500 with their 10-point victory against Missouri. Bentley was extremely efficient on Saturday, completing 78.5 percent of his passes for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns.
His emergence has made the Gamecocks a much more effective offense, and Bentley’s play was complemented nicely by Rico Dowdle, who ran for 149 yards and a score. Defensively, South Carolina forced three turnovers. Chris Moody snagged an interception and recovered a fumble, and Rashad Fenton also came away with a pick.
The Gamecocks will head to Florida to face Will Muschamp’s former team and look to defeat another SEC East contender. The Gamecocks aren’t done in the East, either, and need one more win to become bowl eligible. After Florida, they welcome Western Carolina to Williams-Brice on Nov. 19.
Week 10 result: Defeated Tennessee Tech 55-0
What we learned: Tennessee got back on the right side of the win-loss column with a shutout victory against Tennessee Tech. The game came at just the right time for the Vols, who entered Saturday with a three-game losing streak.
Joshua Dobbs was nearly perfect: 12-of-13 for 183 yards and 3 touchdowns. Josh Malone helped Tennessee’s offense get off to a fast start, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass on the team’s first possession and a 43-yard touchdown on its second possession. Marquez Callaway scored on a 62-yard punt return and averaged 57 yards per return. It was the Vols’ most complete performance of the season, and they are still alive in the division race with three SEC games left to play.
Week 10 result: Lost to Auburn 23-16
What we learned: Vanderbilt didn’t beat Auburn, but the Commodores took another talented team to the wire. Derek Mason’s team has played some tight contests this season, and Saturday was no different. Kyle Shurmur threw for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception; he did a tremendous job spreading the ball around, completing a pass to 10 receivers.
The Commodores’ defense did a good job limiting Auburn’s dynamic offense and held the Tigers to just 124 yards in the first half. Unfortunately, that didn’t continue after halftime and Vanderbilt ended up losing another close game.